Certifications / Microsoft

Tim’s Tips for Microsoft Exam 70-689

by Team Nuggets
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Published on July 7, 2013

Let's chat about Microsoft Exam 70-689: Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA: Windows 8, shall we? 

Exam 70-689 is a "bridge" or upgrade exam that allows Microsoft Certified Professionals who hold one of the following titles:

  • MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7

  • MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician on Windows 7

  • MCSA: Windows 7

to pass one exam in order to upgrade their cert(s) to earn the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) in Windows 8.

Exam Metadata

The 70-689 test is different from traditional Microsoft IT Pro exams inasmuch as the 689 is a composite of content from the following exams:

Composite exams are individually timed. In other words, you'll take a test bank of questions from the 70-687 content, and then after submitting your 687 answers you'll take a test bank of questions from the 70-688 content.

All of the other exam details are the same as any other Microsoft test–you know the drill. We register for Microsoft exams through Prometric, the exam registration fee is $150 USD, yadda yadda.

Exam Content

Because the 689 test is an upgrade exam for current MCSAs or MCITPs in Windows 7, the skill set assumes you already know the basics and are instead interested in what's new and what's changed in Windows 8 support.

I've condensed the full exam blueprint to give you a "CliffsNotes" version for your studying convenience:

1. Install and Upgrade to Windows 8 (25-30%)

  •          Install Windows 8

  •          Migrate and configure user data

2. Configure Hardware and Applications (25-30%)

  •          Install and configure Windows Store applications

  •          Configure Hyper-V

3. Configure Remote Access and Mobility (20-25%)

  •          Configure mobility options

  •          Configure security for mobile devices

4. Configure Backup and Recovery Options (25-30%)

  •          Configure system recovery options

5. Design an Installation and Application Strategy (25-30%)

  •          Design an operating system installation strategy

  •          Design an application strategy for desktop applications

  •          Design an application strategy for cloud applications

6. Maintain Resource Access (25-30%)

  •          Manage data storage

7. Maintain Windows Clients and Devices (25-30%)

  •          Manage mobile devices

  •          Design a recovery solution

8. Manage Windows 8 Using Cloud Services and Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (20-25%)

  •          Manage clients by using Windows Intune

  •          Manage public cloud services

  •          Monitor and maintain clients by using MDOP

In my humble opinion, the above content outline is a colossal mess! First of all, look at the weighting percentages. Do they add up to 100 percent?

As it happens, domains 1-4 on the previous outline refer to Exam 70-687, and domains 5-8 map to Exam 70-688. Mystery solved.

Also, because we're combining content from two tests, you'll see some content overlap in the outline. The arrangement of the topics also strikes me as haphazard (to put it kindly) as well. I wish Microsoft Learning would put more thought into constructing their exam outlines.

Speaking specifically to the 689 content, you see that it is heavily weighted toward Windows 8 system configuration and troubleshooting, with a slight detour into planning and design.

Exam Preparation Tips

We at CBT Nuggets have you completely covered for the 70-689 test. You can take my own 70-689 training course, and/or you can study the 687 training course in development by my friend and fellow trainer James Conrad. [Editor's note: the 70-688 course will be in production soon!]

As a CBT Nuggets subscriber, you also have access to Transcender® practice exams. To my mind, and as I'm sure you already know as an MCP, test-taking skills factor in significantly to your exam success.

Finally, if you need a textbook, I suggest the Exam Ref series by Microsoft Press:

Best of luck to you in your certification studies! Please feel free to shoot me your questions and comments. Take care!

– Tim


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